Trump, Putin speak over phone on plane crash, Middle East


U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone on Monday to discuss the Russian plane crash as well as issues concerning the Middle East peace process and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

According to a White House statement, Trump expressed his condolences over the crash of Saratov Airlines Flight 703 on Sunday, saying the United States was standing by to assist Russian authorities in the investigation.

The Russian airliner carrying 71 people crashed shortly after taking off from Moscow, killing all the 65 passengers and 6 crew members on board.Speaking of the Palestine-Israel peace process, Putin noted that he would meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later on Monday.In response, Trump said that it is now time to work toward an enduring peace agreement.

The Trump administration in December announced its recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying it plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the city that the Palestinians also claimed as its capital.

The decision has sparked global condemnation. In response, Washington suspended its funding for Palestinian refugees in a bid to force Palestine to accept U.S.-deliberated peace plan in the Middle East, which was rejected by the Palestinian side.During the Monday conversation, Trump and Putin also discussed other topics of mutual concern including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The White House said Trump reiterated the importance of taking further steps.

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